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Congress demands Vasundhara Raje’s resignation over Lalit Modi controversy

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New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday demanded Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s resignation over allegations that she testified in favour of former IPL chief Lalit Modi’s British immigration application in 2011.

“The Chief Minister has no right to continue in office,” Congress Rajasthan Unit Chief Sachin Pilot said at a press conference in Delhi.

Pilot alleged that Raje helped Modi, who was facing investigations regarding alleged tax evasion.

Pilot said the Congress in the state would hit the streets on Thursday to press for her resignation.

The Congress has been demanding External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s resignation over her assistance to Modi to get travel documents from the British authorities after his Indian passport was revoked.

The Party’s Rajasthan unit on Wednesday passed a resolution at its executive meeting in Udaipur demanding Raje and Sushma Swaraj’s ouster.

“The resignations have been demanded from both of them (Raje and Sushma Swaraj) for allegedly favouring Lalit Modi,” Congress state unit spokesperson Archana Sharma told IANS over phone.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s State Unit President Ashok Parnami asked: “Why did the Congress, which was a ruling party both at the centre and in the state, not launch a probe at that time?”

“This clearly shows that the Congress is raising baseless allegations and is engaging in petty politics,” Parnami said.

Raje was hit by a controversy following revelation apparently made in a statement released by Lalit Modi’s legal team.

The statement said that Raje, who was then the Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan assembly, said she was in favour of Modi’s immigration application but on the strict condition that her name will not be revealed to the Indian authorities.

Raje, in a press note issued by her media advisor, on Tuesday said she knew Modi’s family but was not aware “which document people are talking about”.

In Delhi, Congress national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the party will pursue all remedies “legal or otherwise in the matter”.

Quizzed on Modi having named some senior Congress functionaries also in the list of people helping him, Surjewala said: “If Lalit Modi had been helped by the UPA then he would not have been in the situation that he is in now.”

“The senior leadership of the BJP lies exposed for having helped a fugitive wanted by law. Both Sushma Swaraj and Raje are guilty of constitutional impropriety,” he added. (IANS)

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)